How Do I Chart My Cycle?

These are the basics; see your midwife for more detailed information or if you have irregular cycles.

Consider your first day of menstrual bleeding as Day 1 of your cycle. During the week or so of your period, your body sheds the uterine lining it had grown the month before to nurture a pregnancy.

For about the next 3 days, your uterus will build a new lining in preparation for this cycle’s egg. You’ll notice either minimal or sticky vaginal mucus.

Approximately 10 days into your cycle, you’ll notice your vaginal mucus is thinner and more slippery, a consistency more amenable to swimming sperm.

Roughly around Day 14, you will ovulate, or release an egg.

An egg is only viable for 24 hours, but sperm can live in the female reproductive tract for 3-5 days.

Thus, to prevent pregnancy, avoid unprotected intercourse the few days before ovulation and the day after. To conceive, have unprotected intercourse during this time.

If sperm does not meet egg during this window, the ovum will be re-absorbed by your body and your uterus prepare to shed once more. You will notice a normal period approximately two weeks after ovulation.

If conception occurred, the fertilized ovum will implant into your uterus and the hormonal changes of pregnancy will begin. You will have no bleeding at all or scant bleeding inconsistent with your normal menstrual flow.

The exact timing of the events of the menstrual cycle can differ from woman to woman and even from month to month, but the overall pattern — shedding, rebuilding, ovulation, shedding — will be the same.

To obtain even more information about the specific day you ovulate, you can use a thermometer to take your temperature upon waking, before you get out of bed, each day. Your temperature will rise the day after you ovulate. Another option is to use over-the-counter ovulation predictor kits. These kits detect a hormone in your urine that peaks in the day or two prior to ovulation.

Most women under 40 who regularly have unprotected sex during their fertile days will become pregnant within 6 months; most of the rest will conceive within one year.

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Can I Exercise During Pregnancy?

Yes!

Regular physical activity has important health benefits in pregnancy and beyond. A pregnant woman who exercises is more likely to gain an optimal amount of weight during pregnancy and less likely to be bothered by lower back pain as her belly grows. In addition, the pregnant body likely enjoys the same benefits of exercise as the non-pregnant body: decreased stress, better sleep, improved mood and decreased anxiety. Finally, physical strength and cardiovascular endurance can only help you with the work of labor.

Once pregnant, stop any contact sports or those activities where you’re likely to fall on your belly. Otherwise, you can continue with the same exercise you did before you were pregnant. Make sure to stay well-hydrated, and if you feel short of breath or dizzy, sit down and take a break.

Never exercised before? Pregnancy is a great time to start! Prenatal yoga, walking, or swimming are all safe, effective choices. Aim for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.

Happy Midwifery Week!

Midwives take care of women from their first period through the post-menopausal time. We provide well-woman care, such as Pap smears and breast exams, contraceptive counseling and prescriptions, and insert IUDs. We offer preconception counseling for women considering having a child soon. We are experts in healthy pregnancies, caring for women during pregnancy and postpartum, as well as during labor and delivery.

Are you looking for individualized health care that is both safe and satisfying?

Are you looking for attentive support in labor whether you give birth naturally or with the aid of an epidural?

Choose a midwife!

http://ourmomentoftruth.midwife.org/MidwivesAndYou